Build in Wood - The opportunities and challenges of building with wood in Denmark

This post has been written by Henriikka Taipale, June 2018 graduate from the Bachelor of Architectural Technology and Construction Management program at Copenhagen School of Design and Technology (KEA). In her Dissertation Report and Bachelor Project she has focused on engineered timber construction in Denmark. She is also a nominee for the Konstruktørforening Graduate Award. 

Build in Wood - The opportunities and challenges of building with wood in Denmark 

Build in Wood takes place on the 30th and 31st May this year in Docken, Copenhagen, and offers inspiration and knowledge sharing on the prevalence of wood in architecture and construction. A crowd of 250 industry actors have gathered to learn about the latest insights on building with wood. 

The first conference day was kicked off with a debate on the increase of wood as a building material. A group of industry experts discussed the status quo, and what are the future prospects of building with wood. Research shows that currently, as much energy is consumed in the building process as in operating the building, and that replacing typical steel and concrete structures with timber equivalents translates to considerable energy and CO2 savings, among other benefits. The importance of increasing education was also stressed, as there currently are no compulsory comprehensive courses for wood construction among the relevant technical programs. 

The race for the tallest timber building has been ongoing for the past years. Voll Architects from Norway introduced us to Mjøstårnet in Brumunddal, Norway, scheduled for completion in the end of 2018, which currently holds the sought-after title of the tallest timber building in the world. The project, which is deeply rooted in traditional Norwegian wood construction, underwent several reiterations before finding it's final timber form. 

Frontrunners from our Nordic neighboring countries shared their achievements in tall timber construction, and lead a debate on how to accelerate the development of tall timber buildings also in Denmark. Creating engagement across the industry, gathering competence and confidence, as well as getting the municipalities involved are few of the vital drivers mentioned today. 

The first day concluded with an in-dept introduction to fire safety of wooden buildings. This has been one of the most debated topics in relation to timber construction for the past years. Industry specialists introduced methods to analyze and estimate risks involved, and solutions to achieve sufficient safety measures in case of fire. 

The second conference day offers an equally exciting program, which I will be covering in my next guest blogger post.